Mining Technology 4.0 – by Jamie van Schoor, CEO at Dwyka Mining Services

3 Mins read

Jamie van Schoor, was introduced to me by the team at Emesent, as he is the authorised distributor of Hovermap in the African region. CEO of Dwyka Mining Services, the South African based business with offices throughout the Africa region, they specialise in mining technologies and delivery of integrated solutions for their customers, they also have distribution channels for multiple industry leading solutions for the Africa region.

I was keen to engage with Jamie to find out what issues or skills gaps he may encounter when working in his part of the world, so we could share his learnings with the wider industry. Jamie has been kind enough to provide me with a two part article titled “Mining Technology & Human Teams 4.0”.

The paragraph below outlines the Mining Technology or Machine component and I will follow up next month with the Human Teams component:

MINING TECHNOLOGY 4.0 by Jamie Van Schoor, CEO @ Dwyka Mining Services

Changing mindsets to embrace technology adoption is no easy task, especially when regions like Africa are leapfrogging years of learning to compete head-on with mature global mining markets like Australia. These markets have had the time to adapt to the pace of technology evolution and develop the required skills and structures to embed and support these efforts.

For many organisations, the questions; “Where do I start this journey?” or for those already on their own trajectory, “Where should we be refocusing our efforts?” can be an intimidating task. Since there is no ‘cookie-cutter’ approach to embedding mining technologies, through industry landscape observation and our own successes and failures, I have listed our four points to consider for Industry 4.0 from a machine + human standpoint.

Dwyka Mining Services conducting an underground flight of a construction project using the Emesent HoverMap drone solution

1.0  Secure stable and sustainable of power

A forgotten but critical aspect of Industry 4.0 is the undeniable requirement of sustainable, robust and reliable power within the quality parameters selected devices need and importantly the location you need it supplied. The advent of renewables and alternative energy sources are elevating the need for quality-of-service analyses across mine site to ensure the hybrid creation and supply of power can sustain the growing demand for devices and data.

2.0 Ensure robust mine-wide gigabit connectivity

Connectivity forms the foundation of industrial control and automation. Starting by connecting your company assets to seamlessly communicate and share large datasets effortlessly by ensuring wireless coverage can be achieved everywhere is a critical consideration. Mining companies that focus their efforts on this capability are building their future digital mine from a solid foundation.

“Our experience in the underground mining industry is that the most valuable data is generally extracted from the toughest working environments. Ensuring robust systems that “last the blast” and those that are cloud-enabled are key to delivering real-time data for real-site progress.”

Jamie Van Schoor, CEO at Dwyka Mining Services

3.0  Augmented Intelligence with Autonomy for improved safety

Get ahead of the curve by collaboratively identifying and workshopping the removal of staff from hazardous locations to elevate safety for sustainable workforce buy-in and shareholder confidence. Semi- and full autonomous applications are already replacing repetitive tasks and jobs where “low skill high exposure” instances need to be re-engineered to offer a feasible win-win for all stakeholders with full acknowledgment of legacy challenges for a thriving future-proof mining industry. 

4.0 Embrace devices to capture sight off-site

With remote working and travel limitations elevated by COVID-19, the evolving workforce will embrace remote sensing devices to visualise challenges and opportunities in-situ from teams with ‘mud-in-boots’ on-site. Instant collaboration with smart wearables and team alignment platforms are the future of inclusive site management.

The wearable technology being trialled and implemented by Dwyka Mining Services currently.

Jamie outlines four fantastic points focused on mining technologies implementation which could be considered by those across the mining landscape. Highlighting the delivery of energy and power to projects could well be critical in the next phase of underground projects. One that when chatting with those in the industry here in Australia, often seems to be overlooked.

I would like to thank Jamie for providing the readership with his insights, some of which can be forgotten in the process of new technology implantation! The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly pushed forward many remote working habits within the mining sectorand the use of wearable technologies is one that I will explore in future articles.

For Jamie’s thoughts around human integration into these new technologies check back for the second article in June. This will then provide a simple platform of ideas to consider for any new systems you may be interested in for your mining project.

If you like my content and discussions on underground mining, please follow me on LinkedIn or Facebook. I continually strive to offer new and interesting content for those exploring new technologies and ideas for underground mining – so please send me an email if you would like to get involved.

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